What goes up, must come down. Just like what happened with the falling dead bodies, it landed exactly on top of the carriage, splattering blood and little bits of pieces of flesh all over. It was quite a gory sight due to how strong the impact was and as a result, it pretty much changed the color of the carriage's roof and the clothes of the unfortunate one, Erde. Lores noticed it beforehand, that was why he was able to luckily avoid the mess. After all, he has always despised getting dirty when fighting, which made him resort to using unconventional fighting style. Plus, he heartfully believed in his dear friend to shelter him from any dirt that will try to sully his tidy, purple robe.
Seeing Lores' smiling face, a vein bulged on Erde's head, ready to pop. But before he could reprimand his fellow teacher and friend about his mischief, the bandits and hired mercenaries near their platform finally took action. He gave Lores a lasting glare first and then mumbled "later" as he turned around to look at the struggling "critters" below. There were two things that he hated seeing the most. First is Lores' stupid smiling face and the second thing is normal humans trying to integrate themselves to soulpower cultivators in hope of achieving a stronger power just to end up being used as their cannon fodders.
Lores also looked below and somehow understood why Erde's mood became even more sour. After all, no matter how minimal their effort with handling them, they would still have to expend some of their soulpower against the small fries. As Erde called it "waste of time", he, too, agrees somewhat, especially with their current situation where the top priority was protecting the students.
Since Erde made sure to raise the platform real high, the bandits and mercenaries could only try to reach them by manually climbing and using their bows. Moreover, somehow mixed in were a couple of mercenaries that were able to utilize soulpower and tried to target them with soulpower arrows but to no avail. Lores was quick enough to cast multiple vines that formed some kind of a net which acted as a barrier specially designed to counter physical and soulpower projectiles. Erde also casted Earth Spikes, where multiple spikes suddenly protruded on the sides of the platform which impaled the ones who were trying to climb.
Not long after Erde dispersed the spikes, many dead bandits and mercenaries with numerous fist-sized holes on their bodies started falling to the ground. The remaining few that stayed on the ground were horrified when they saw how the bodies slowly piled up. It almost made them hurl but they could only swallow it down as they fled for their lives towards the deeper parts of the forest. They didn't care about the promised rewards anymore and judging by how fast their targets eliminated some of the cloaked people that hired them, the chances of them surviving was pretty much zero.
"Hmpf! If you're just going to run away then might as well not come in the first place... Really a waste of time.", mumbled Erde while wiping off the blood on his face from earlier.
"That's right, that's right! Useless smallfries that want to dirty me. See if Erde won't reap your lives away! Hmpf!", said Lores in his mind while taking a peek at Erde's face, as if checking his mood. After confirming that he wasn't in any danger of undergoing a scolding session, he then turned his attention to the four remaining cloaked figures. It seemed like they finally finished casting their combined soulpower to conjure a high-level wind spell.
It was the so-called Firmament Slash. An advanced spell which can only be conjured by Advanced Elementalist. Even though the four of them weren't qualified, they still made it possible by synching and combining their same element soulpower. Due to the high requirement of the spell, the process took a very long time just to be able to form it. They were, of course, aware of the danger they were in as well as the deaths of their comrades and minions. But they all ignored it just for the sake of this one huge spell.
"To think that they actually underestimated us, the teachers of Malvic Academy... I'm greatly insulted by this lack of threat! What is the enemy faction thinking! To dare only send us eight Intermediate Elementalists?! How infuriating!", complained Lores loudly towards the cloaked figures.
Erde too found it strange as to why the number of forces that tried to hinder them weren't strong at all. He was thinking that maybe their leaders were hiding somewhere but according to his Earth Sonar, nobody living was hidden close-by. While he was distracted, trying to figure out some hidden factors, Lores, on the other hand, was casting a single vine with a width comparable to a trunk of a fully-grown birch tree. He was planning to use it as a barrier against the Firmament Slash, as well as using it for smashing the enemies into paste.
To their surprise, the four cloaked men didn't target them but the carriage instead. Beta, who was watching everything from the start, saw the incoming attack and warned everyone.
"Get down on the floor!", rushed Beta loudly and at the same time dropping on the floor as if his life depended on it.
Everyone has been very alert and tensed all that time so the moment Beta commanded them, they followed suit instinctively. As a result, everyone was fast enough to avoid the Firmament Slash that passed by above them which completely hacked the whole roof until midways of the carriage. When they all saw the damage, their hair started raising up and their backs were suddenly soaked with cold sweat. If they hadn't been fast enough, they would have been cut in half without being able to resist. The horror that would've happened if Beta had not warned them turned them all unable to move.
It happened so fast that no one expected it to happen, especially for Lores who has been taking it easy the moment he realized that the enemies were nothing to worry about. But then the sight of the carriage being sliced halfway made him see red.
"YOU DARE?!", Lores screamed loudly and tried to jump off the platform.
He then brandished the already conjured Vine Whip and attacked the cloaked figures. A conjured Elemental Armor suddenly covered Lores' body, as if he was going to personally kill the enemies with his own hands. The group of Intermediate Elementalists felt their hair stand on end when they saw the crazy look on his face. As if being awoken from their shock, one of them ordered the remaining bandits and mercenaries on the other side of the carriage, to attack the targets inside. After that, they used their remaining soulpower to cast a spell on themselves that significantly raised their movement speed to escape from Lores' attack. But, three of them were caught by the whip and the only sign that they were there were the clothes and splattered blood on the ground. Not even bones remained intact for all of it were crumbled into dust while their flesh became a bloody paste on the ground.
Just that attack alone proves the difference between an Intermediate Elementalist and an Advanced Elementalist. They were no match to Lores at all. So, all they could do was run and escape as fast as they could. Lores was too enraged and didn't want to let them go so he also ran after them, craving to twist their necks until he could remove it from their bodies. Erde was shocked to see his friend go berserk. It has been a long time since he saw Lores in that state, and that was an event that he didn't want to see again. To prevent things from escalating, he rushed towards Lores and casted an Earth Prison to trap him.
Due to Erde stopping Lores, the sole surviving cloaked man was able to freely escape to the forest. He was lucky enough to be on the outer corner of their group's position so he was able to dodge the attack. He swore in his heart that he would retire after he reported their failure to his superior. He doesn't want to die yet and still have a family to take care of after all. Erde didn't even give any attention to the escaping cloaked guy for he was too busy trying to keep Lores confined.
"LORES! Wake up, you stupid fool! Don't forget our mission is to protect the students!" Erde reprimanded loudly to remind Lores about their objective.
As if splashed with a cold bucket of water, Lores came to his senses. He looked pale with a slight hint of tears hanging on his eyes. It seemed like a trauma was triggered so he lost his composure. Now that he calmed down, he swiftly turned back to check on the students.
"Professor Lores! Professor Erde!", the students exclaimed once they saw them both enter from the now missing rooftop of the carriage.
Lores and Erde were confused as to how they all survived with no wounds whatsoever. But then everything was made clear to them after a teacher reported about what happened. Beta, their hero, as the teacher kept on calling him, saved them all by warning them about the attack. He was also the one to command all the students to barrage the enemy bandits and mercenaries with soulpower arrows. The other teachers too followed suit so the result was that they were able to annihilate them before they could do any damage to them.
When Lores heard of it, he looked at Beta and gave him a warm smile. He casually said, "Beta, you did great leading and protecting your fellow students and classmates. I'm proud to be your teacher." After saying his piece, Lores then moved to the front and instructed the coach driver to move along. He didn't want them to deal with beasts lured by the blood, especially that their guards were non-existent. Apparently, they were all assigned to guard the headmaster instead since he was more of a target compared to the students. Plus, since they have Lores, an Advanced Elementalist, they didn't believe that he won't be able to handle anything that would happen.
Once their carriage started moving, Lores sat down with a blank expression on his face. Erde noticed him first and was about to sit next to him, when suddenly a small hand reached out to his arms.
"Professor Erde, it seems like Professor Lores acts differently with you... I saw what happened outside and it was quite a sight.", Beta said with an inquisitive gaze.
It was known to all in Malvic Academy that Lores was one of the weirdest teachers. Always showing a calm demeanor as well as strict, passionate, selfless, mature, and kind characteristic. But what Beta saw was something new. Lores acted like a child and was more playful. Though he had always known that Lores was sly and mysterious, the berserk version of him was completely unexpected. For the first time ever, Beta was baffled by a human behavior. Troubled by his own musings, he couldn't help but inquire who seemed to be the reason of Lores' change in behavior.
Erde was surprised to Beta's question. At first, he looked like he was contemplating, but then he smirked and said something that Beta found annoying.
"It's a secret.", said Erde while chuckling and turning around to sit beside Lores.